Friday, February 24, 2017

Cleaning up Weekly Positions

Not a great week, but survived to try again.  Closed out three positions, buying back a put spread in $AAPL for a profit and a call spread in $TSLA for a profit.

I also closed out my call spread in $UVXY for a fairly significant loss.  UVXY took off on the morning while I was short calls and I decided to cover them before things got worse.  That didn't work out because the market turned back up (damn dip buyers) and I left a fair amount of money on the table. 

Annoying, but those choices sometimes have to be made in order to protect the account. 

I put on two new trades today, both times selling put spreads on big, volatile and liquid names.

On $CMG sold next week's  $415 strike and bought the $395 for the same time period.  About a $3.40 credit for that.

Same kind of trade on $TSLA, sold next week's 255, bought the $237.50 for a $3.50 credit.  Risky, but both stocks severely dipped at the open today and recovered as the day went along.

I'm considering maybe taking a earlier profit (if I have one) rather than waiting until expiration.  Sean McLaughlin takes his when he hits 50%, but that seems like too little to me. 

Happy trading.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Tesla Bearish Option Spread and an Update on $UVXY

I was a bit reckless with my option trades today, and surprisingly, I didn't get burned.  I may actually make some money on it. It will probably come back to haunt me.

I sold a call spread on Tesla ($TSLA) with a one day expiration.  The stock came out with earnings last night, and although the stock initially went up, it faded quickly and was down by 10 am or so, when I put this on. 

The stock had dropped from $280 last night down to $260, so I sold a put spread:

Sold the $262.50 for $2.24 for expiration tomorrow.
Bought the $272.50 for $0.55 for the same date. 

If the stock stays below I get the entire spread.  Short duration, but there was still a fair amount of implied volatility, so a decent return. 

Stock dropped to $256 by the close, so I could have taken it off for a solid win, but will hold for a bit tomorrow.  If it stays near that price I will let it expire worthless. 

An update on $UVXY.  If you haven't tried this strategy, one thing that can happen when you sell a call or put is that they can be exercised early.  That happened to me today, the $19 call I sold was bought back, locking in my losses.  Bad. However, $UVXY continued going up, so the exercise stopped me from taking larger losses.  Good!

The $21 call trade I sold isn't looking great either.  The stock closed near $22, and the option expires tomorrow.  I need a solid fade to make any money, and I'm not confident about it. 

That's the risk of doing this.  A few bad trades can really blow up your account.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Bullish Option Spread on $AAPL

I have a long term put option on Apple, but since I have been watching it closely, I saw that it had been upgraded this morning.  The stock seemed to be steady, so I thought it might be good to put on a very short term bullish spread on.  I had some cash available from my winning $YELP spread that expired on Friday.

I sold a put spread (which is bullish).

Sold the $135 weekly put for this Friday for 40 cents
Bought the $132 strike weekly put also for this Friday for 9 cents.  The underlying stock was trading around $136.20 at the time.

If this works, that is, if $AAPL stays over $135 through close on Friday, I'll pick up the whole 31 cents (that is, $31 per option.)  The stock closed at $136.69, and I am already in the black. 

It's probably not smart to trade such short duration, I don't really have much chance of picking up much of the implied volatility, but it's a straight directional bet that the stock won't go down, or go down very much in a short time frame.

I'd like to update my position on the trades I made last week.  I have two bullish bets on $UVXY, short a $19 call and a $21 call.  The $21 looks OK, $UVXY closed at $20.69, that would pay off if it stays here.  The $19 is losing at this point, but $UVXY can fall quickly, so I will hang on to it for a few days.  Of course, it can also spike, but I have offsetting long calls at higher prices to give me some comfort.

Enjoy trading.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Winning trade in $YELP

Just a quick note to say I allowed the call spread I had on $YELP to expire.  I had sold the 36.50 strike call and the stock closed at $34.67, a nice win for me.

No other trades today. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Shorting the Spike in $UVXY with a Call Spread

If you read yesterday's post, you saw I made a bearish bet on $UVXY, which is more or less a bullish bet on the market.  I got stung a bit, although it was done with options that don't expire until next Friday.

I was taken to task a bit for not using the correct terminology on $UVXY and the $VIX, to which I will plead no contest.  For my purposes, it's not important to identify the how the products work exactly.  I don't need to understand the physics of gravity to know I will hurt myself if I jump off a building. 

With that out of the way, $UVXY did spike this morning, and rather than wait, I sold another call spread at higher strikes.  Putting on more risk but hoping for a drop as the markets quiet down for the weekend and contango kicks in.

Sold the $21 February 24 Call
Bought the $25 February 24 Call

I got a credit of about a dollar again.  Price of the underlying was $20.80 at the time I put it on.  The price jumped to $22 before closing at $20.11, so I am ahead on this trade at end of day, but behind on the one I made yesterday at the 19 strike.

A word on liquidity.  I closed out a trade today I didn't discuss when I opened it on $RH.  I had sold the 26 strike and for a while I was looking pretty good, as the stock dropped below $25.  I didn't take it off with a win because I couldn't get a good price because the option was illiquid, hardly any bids.  It's teaching me to focus on activity traded options.  Even if I see a very good deal, I may pass if I can't cover when I want to.

As it turns out, $RH got a buy recommendation and the stock jumped over $27.  Lesson learned (hopefully). 

Good luck trading.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Bearish Spread on $UVXY

I wasn't planning on any trades today, I thought I'd hold some powder back, but an opportunity opened up and I decided to take it.  The $VIX climbed today and along with it, the $UVXY, the 2X Ultra VIX Short Term Futures ETF.  $UVXY is a function of the $VIX, which is known as the Fear indicator, a measure of volatility.  When the $VIX goes up, it generally means the market is going down, although that wasn't the case today. 

The market has been pretty complacent lately, and despite all the political rumbling, I didn't see anything that was an immediate reason for the spike in the $VIX or $UVXY, so I decided to open a trade against it.

I shorted the $19 March 24 call (next week's) and bought the $24 strike for the same time period. It gave me a net credit of just under a dollar at the time.  $UVXY was trading at $19.50 when I made the trade, up a dollar.  It gives me a week for it to drop back under $19 to get the full credit.  Remember, Monday is a markets holiday, which is calculated into the option price.

The stock traded as high as $20 and closed at $19.80, so I could have done a bit better.  We'll see.  I spoke to someone after the market close who said it was $VIX expiration this morning, and it's not usual for the index to behave oddly at expiration.  Technical mumbo-jumbo. If so, all the better for a pullback.

Good luck 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Closing a Put Spread on $TSLA, opening a short position on $NUGT

I closed out the put spread I sold on $TSLA (Tesla) today.  I had sold a put spread yesterday with a Friday expiration, which is a bullish bet, and the stock jumped from $276 to $283 and it looked like it might pull back.  I had a pretty risky position if it turned against me in such a short time frame, so I closed it out for a debit of $1.1, making close to a $200 profit overnight. 

I'm pretty happy with it, I would prefer to let a winner ride, but seems like the right move to take it off. 

I also closed out a put spread from a week ago that I hadn't posted, so I won't bring that up.  I prefer to only report on trades that I have been upfront with, not claiming a winner just after the fact.

How Option Spreads Work

For those that don't do a lot of trading in options, or spreads, just a comment on what I am doing.  If I sell a put spread, that is actually a bullish bet.  I am selling a higher strike put for more money, and buying a lower price put for less.  It creates a net credit, and if the stock price stays above the higher strike, I keep the entire credit. 

If I sell a call spread, it works that opposite and is a bearish bet.  See below for a real life example.

Selling a Call Spread on $NUGT

Today I sold a call spread in $NUGT, the Direxion 3 times leveraged Gold Miners ETF.

Sell $13 March 17 strike for $1.16
Bought $17 March 17 strike for $0.35

If $NUGT ends up below $13, I keep the 81 cents.  These are regular options, so everything is times 100, then times of the number of options.  Usually I don't say how many that is, but today it was 5, so I have chance to earn $408, while risking more.  The risk is mitigated by the fact that the stock price was $12 when I put this on.  Unfortunately, it went up during the day and closed at $12.46.  Not a good entry.

Because $NUGT is a 3x ETF, I have the chance to see some decay from rebalancing.  Maybe not too much in just a month. 

Enjoy your trading.